Helen Clark to announce bid for UN leadership


Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says she is "deeply honoured" to be nominated to become the next head of the United Nations.

Prime Minister John Key has made an announcement this morning confirming Ms Clark's nomination for the role.

Mr Key told Newshub yesterday the Government would provide resources for Ms Clark to campaign for the job, if she puts her name forward.

Speculation has been building for months that the former Prime Minister's eyeing up the role, which becomes vacant at the end of this year when incumbent Ban Ki-moon steps down.

Mr Key says if it's game on, he'll fight for her despite their political differences and political history.

"I think there's a mature point in which you put politics aside and you acknowledge and hopefully celebrate the skills of a New Zealander not because of their political tendencies but because of their ability and capacity to do a job," says Mr Key.

There's no official deadline for applications to be submitted for the role, but the earlier candidates confirm their intentions, the earlier they can begin lobbying the world's political leaders.

If Ms Clark presses the green button, one of her most loyal lobbyists will be the man who stole her job in 2008.

"If she puts her name forward, I'll do everything I can to get her over the line," Mr Key says.

"Whatever happens, this is going to be a highly contested campaign and there's going to be a lot of politics involved."

One of the names also floating around is former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who's rumoured to have begun his lobbying in New York.

Mr Key knows he's a threat, but believes Ms Clark can edge him out.

"I'd always back her over Kevin Rudd because she's a New Zealander and I've had much greater exposure to her," Mr Key says.

"I think most people would say she was a very strong Prime Minister for nine years and she's done a great job over the last seven years."

He's even comparing her to some of New Zealand's most famous exports.

"If Helen became the next Secretary-General of the United Nations, New Zealand would celebrate in the same way they celebrate Lorde for her achievements in singing, and Lydia Ko in golf, and so many other New Zealanders in what we do."

Ms Clark couldn't be reached for comment.